Communist Election Platform 1936
Radicalism -- United States, Communism -- United States, Presidential campaign ephemera, 1936 Presidential Campaign, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alf Landon, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Communist Party of the United States of America, CPUSA, Socialist Party of America, SPA,
The Communist Election Platform, 1936.
Collection folkscanomy_politics; folkscanomy; additional_collections
Campaign document of Browder-Ford campaign for President and Vice-President of the United States.
Published by Workers Library Publishers, July and August 1936.
This 16 page penny newsprint pamphlet was produced by the Communist Party, USA as part of its November 1936 election effort. Included are photos and short biographies of Earl R. Browder and James W. Ford, its candidates for President and Vice-President, as well as the text of its official "Election Platform," as ratified by its National Nominating Convention held at Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 28, 1936.
The 1936 platform is a document of the Popular Front period. Gone are intimations that the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt was "social fascist" and hence the greatest threat to American workers. Rather it is "extreme reaction" which is held to be driving the nation "toward fascism and a new world war," while the Roosevelt administration is criticized only for its willingness to temporize with these "reactionary forces." Roosevelt "grants but small concessions to the working people, while making big concessions to Hearst, to Wall Street, to the reactionaries," the document claims.
The Republican Party is held up to be "the head of the camp of reaction" in this document, "supported by the barons of steel, oil, auto, and munitions" and "the candidates of the Liberty League, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Bankers' Association, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Black Legion."
The pamphlet pushes the idea that a Farmer-Labor Party was emerging as a "real people's party" -- a coherent organization said to be "growing in a majority of states." The rival Socialist Party of America was said to be holding itself aloof from this movement. An explicit appeal is made for the Socialist Party to change course and "unite with us and the mass of the toilers against reaction." The Socialists are later referred to as "comrades" -- a marked change from the Communist Party's historic extreme hostility and a reflection of the new party line favoring establishment of working relations with historic enemies to resolve "the immediate issue of democracy or fascism."
The program of the CPUSA is outlined in detail, based upon the opening of closed factories, implementation of a 30 hour work week, establishment of old age pensions, unemployment insurance, and social security, continuation of the WPA and the CCC, halting evictions and foreclosures of farmers, and an expansion of civil liberties, particularly for black Americans. The death penalty is sought for lynchers and anti-semitic propaganda is to be banned. Nationalization of banking and the armaments industry is sought.
This agenda is to be funded by income-based "taxation of the rich." No concrete details are provided, although a repeal of sales taxation is additionally demanded.
"Only when socialism will be established, as today in the Soviet Union, will there be no crisis, no poverty, no unemployment -- but abundance and security for all," the program declares. The slogan "Communism is Twentieth Century Americanism" is used and the party's continuance of the revolutionary tradition, including that of "the revolutionary Lincoln" is emphasized.
Multiple versions of this document were produced with localized information about publications and candidacies on pp. 15-16. Included here are the last pages from the California version, published in Aug. 1936, and the Wisconsin version, published in July 1936. It is beyond question that other versions exist, at a bare minimum for New York and Chicago, but probably also for other districts of the Communist Party.
Printed in the USA between 1923 and 1978 with no notice of copyright in original publication, public domain.
Digitized by Tim Davenport ("Carrite") for Archive.org, Marxists Internet Archive (www.marxists.org), and Early American Marxism website (www.marxisthistory.org) from specimens in his collection. The introduction above also by Tim Davenport.
This is the high resolution (20+ MB) version of the file). An "optimized" 2.2 MB version also exists, available from the sources mentioned above.
File released to the public domain without restriction.